Sunday, 10 June 2018

G6+1+Russia


The meeting of the world’s economic engine, commonly known as the G7, took place in Canada on June 09, 2018. Justin Trudeau the Canadian PM wanted this meeting to be a crowning of his career, but as it turned out it may have been a colossal disaster.

Trudeau a vacuous political neophyte never understood that the world changed with Trump’s election as President of the United States. A rise in populism is causing a serious rift in political circles and it seems that globalism is gladly seeing its twilight. In view of serious trade issues including NAFTA and Trump’s view that trade with the rest of the world is not fair; Trudeau inserted social issues on his agenda. Noble as it may be, gender and apple-pie social issues could not take precedent over lingering economic and security issues.

The G7 meetings of the past, never really produced much, but instead proclaimed to resolve issues but ultimately were just another waste of taxpayers’ money to get leaders of the world together for a photo-op. The problem this time was that Trump having withdrawn from international agreements like TTP and the Paris Climate Agreement had already sent a message that he wanted to renegotiate many issues that he believes affect his country’s economy and sovereignty. With a forthcoming summit with the leader of the rogue nation of North Korea, Trump did not put much effort into the Quebec meeting. So Trudeau and Macron decided that the meeting would be to pressure Trump on tariffs and social issues. The result was a resounding failure because Trump treated the meeting with contempt and not only was late at meetings but also left early. So the media labelled the meeting as G6+1.

The G6 made up of France, Canada, the U.K, Japan, Germany and Italy, have sometime been acting and behaving as offended U.S allies The mistake is that they believed that they could bully the leader of the most powerful country in the world. While in the past these meetings were about closed door discussions and agreements, which incidentally, did not come to any good results, this time Trump put all his cards on the table in public.

Trump has been very clear about trade and international multilateral agreements. He does not like them. In many ways his views on trade are very true. The U.S the largest economy in the world does have trade deficits with most other industrialized countries, and he wants to change that trend. The only way for him to get attention from the other G6 members was to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium. He used ‘security’ as the excuse to impose these tariffs because it was the only legal way for him to do it and by-pass Congress on trade issues. It is hypocritical  for any member of the G6 to complain about tariffs , when every single one of them have huge tariffs on imports in one way or another, Todays’ real free trade problems come from the fact that many countries protect some of their industries jealously by means of tariffs, and government subsidies.

As for NAFTA, there is no doubt that Canada, Mexico and the U.S have all benefitted from the original agreement. However as time went by, it seems that it may be time to renegotiate some of the original portions of the agreement. For Canada who accuses Trump of punishing his ally, Trudeau very conveniently ignores the fact that Canada imposes tariffs equivalent to over 200% on dairy and poultry products from the U.S thus hurting Canadian consumers. By the same token we must also acknowledge that the lumber issue has been adjudicated in favor of Canada several times, despite the fact that the Canadian government subsidises the industry. The Auto Pact has benefited Canada, and uses cheap steel and aluminum bought from China. Cheap labor in Mexico has also affected the U.S auto industry. In light of these facts it is clear that Trump wants to reverse some, if not all, the trade imbalance that exists between the U.S and the rest of the world.

The media is very quick to accuse Trump of playing the ‘Imperial’ card to negotiate, but ignore that the progressive ideas of the past decade are becoming tiresome and endangering the world economy. Under Obama the G7 was a lovefest of progressivism, which as we saw did nothing for world trade, the economy or world security. The Iran deal was put together by some G7 members, China and Russia. The result was to allow Iran to restart its nuclear program in 15 years and also get access to $T delivered in cash by cargo planes; the same money being used today to destabilize the Middle East. When Trump called for the abolition of the Iran agreement all the European allies disagreed, not for security reasons but in truth for economic reasons. The claim to be ‘Allies’ when it comes to trade tariffs is a bit disingenuous when they do not support him on serious security issues.

The Europeans do not like the fact that Trump calls for better contributions to NATO or cites them for their approach in the fight against terrorism. European and Canadian immigration policies have created havoc in their respective countries and yet they accuse Trump of being racist for promoting legal immigration. No wonder that Trump, rightly or wrongly, promotes to bring back Russia to the table for future G7 + Russia meetings. In fact I would go so far as adding China and calling it the G9. The real powers today are the U.S, Russia and China.  Russia was rightly excluded because of the Crimea and East Ukraine invasion. But it is time for the world to recognize that either these meetings are totally useless and mere photo-ops, or they must decide that to achieve serious and meaningful results the real powerful countries should be at the table. I believe that Trump understands this theory.

The Quebec G7 meeting was a fiasco; let us not sugar coat it. Trudeau and his progressive friends bungled it. They thought that ganging up on Trump would be advantageous, but they forgot that Trump is not the usual U.S President. He is after all a business man who has honed his negotiating skills through actual deal making not political pandering. He also knows that under his leadership the U.S economy is booming with a GDP of $20.4T compared to a $19.2T for the other six members combined. By Trump refusing to sign the final meeting’s communique further proves that the Canadian PM misjudged his place in world politics. He is a light weight with vacuous, globalist progressive ideas that do not serve Canada well on the international scene, except at the feckless United Nations. One does not have to give one’s shirt to achieve successful negotiations. The other members of the G6 better start understanding that Trump is a different President who is prepared to go it alone when necessary. Unfortunately this does not bode well when the U.S is still the policeman of the world and the engine of the world’s economy. Cooperation with your true ally is better that poking him in the eye.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Trump’s Protocol


About a year ago when President Trump continued his attack on international agreements that he did not like, the world accused him of being too bombastic and of being a President who did not understand foreign relations. In fact when he called Kim Jong- Un ‘little Rocket man’ as he put pressure on the rogue regime, many politicians and diplomats said that he was on the brink of starting WWIII. How times have changed!

The world is still getting used to President Trump’s approach to diplomacy. Unlike his many predecessors he does not believe in soft talking negotiations. He also does not seem to believe in international treaties which he believes affect the United States. In fact he demands that many previously agreed upon agreements be renegotiated. Starting with the Paris environment agreement and the Transpacific Trade Partnership, he just pulled out of the Iran Nuclear deal, and may yet do the same to NAFTA.

On  North Korean , Trump just ratchetted the military power of the United States , moved military assets into the China Sea and threatened military action should North Korea continued its nuclear and Intercontinental Ballistic missile programs. His statements were seen as dangerous, but by putting the right sanctions and garnering China’s help we are now faced with a Summit between Kim Jong-un and President Trump, which is reminiscent of the Reagan/Gorbachev meeting which bodes well for a resolution to the conflict. North Korea has already hinted to denuclearize and released American prisoners. These may only be preliminary negotiating tactics, but in reality these gestures and the meeting are events that the world could not have foreseen only six months ago.

President Trump had previously stalled to decertify the Iran Deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. (JCPOA), which President Obama negotiated with the Europeans, China and Russia, he has now rescinded the U.S participation in the deal.. The so-called ‘Allies’ (France, Germany and the U.K) are unfortunately sitting on the fence and not backing Trump’s decision. There is a saying that “A camel is a horse build by a committee’, in my view the (JCPOA) is a camel which the participants created to please Obama and for economic and political influence. The Europeans have economic vested interest in placating Iran. For example, Iran has huge contracts with Total and Airbus. As for China and Russia, it is all about supporting Iran for political reasons for being a thorn in the United States foreign policy. However it must be remembered that the deal negotiated by Obama and Sec. John Kerry was never sent to Congress for approval. It was purely a political legacy that they are now defending, notwithstanding that the billions of dollars returned to Iran is now being used to fund terrorism and help to destabilize the Middle East. The deal would in effect allow Iran to re-start its nuclear program in some 15 years, whereas Trump wants no part of an Iran nuclear regime.

Despite the ramblings of the left and the Europeans, Trump’s decisions are producing positive results. Those protecting their interests and failed political legacies should take heed. I for one have always believed that ‘offense is the best form of defense’. Trump is following the Reagan view that ‘peace through strength’ is the best policy , he using a big stick first and then the carrot, Trump’s detractors must also remember that he has always said that if his deals do not work he will walk away, once again following Reagan’s ‘Trust but verify’ will hopefully be used in any negotiations.

The naiveté of Canada’s vacuous PM in supporting the Iran deal may bring more problems for NAFTA negotiations, should Trump decide to tighten the screws. If Iran decides to reduce the flow of oil, what an opportunity to push for pipelines east and west. In Canada conservatives starting to strategize for 2019 elections, should take heed of Trump’s tactics and plan for success.

The use of chaotic diplomacy should be a lesson for conservatives. The use of appeasement diplomacy or soft diplomacy has proven to be abject failures. The world should support and applaud any success brought by the Trump diplomatic protocol.

Could it be that chaotic diplomacy is the answer to world peace? I suggest that it may well be.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Gun Control: Shooting at the wrong targets


Every death is a tragedy and mass murders are an abomination. The latest student shooting in Florida has triggered a youth movement for gun control. While it is important to have laws, we must also understand the constitution and property rights. Exploitation of a tragedy and using children for political gain is not the right way to make constitutional changes.


There is no doubt that the U.S has the greatest number of reported shootings, but most of it is done either by criminals or police on criminals. Chicago has the largest number of black on black shootings in the country. The racial divided also contributes to much of the shootings. In many cases of police shootings it is quite clear that many victims, who happen to be black, rarely stop when called upon to do so by the police. Gangs who do not use legal firearms shoot each other or innocent by-standers. Terrorists and criminals use guns which they acquire illegally.

In my view, there is no doubt that semi-automatic guns cause a lot of damage, and assault weapons should be regulated in some way. President Trump has put forward a number of suggestions including the prohibition of bump stocks and perhaps a 21 year age limit for owners. I agree with the regulation of assault weapons, but do not agree with the age limit. If a government can place a gun in the hands of an 18 year old to go to war, why should he not be able to own a gun legally? Furthermore, most mass shootings or school attacks are used to attempt a change in the laws, but rarely do all the relevant facts taken into consideration or form part of the debate.

To start with, why is the mental state of a shooter always comes to the fore when there is a terrorist attack, but rarely when there is a school shooting? There is also a common thread in those school shootings, the perpetrator is always a loner, or is from a one parent family. The breakdown of the family and the increase of children without a father figure tend to be on the increase and too often contribute to lawlessness as well as mental issues. Schools and teachers have become the guardian of many children, which leads us to the very disturbing issue of control.

The United States Constitution is quite clear on gun ownership under the Second Amendment which states:     ‘A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. The problem is that the law was written hundreds of years ago and firearms have changed from the one bullet black powder gun to automatic and semi-automatic firearms that fires dozens of bullets in seconds. The Left has always been against the ownership of firearms and at every opportunity they have attempted to change the law. This time the youth movement organizers of the ‘March for our lives’ seem to be supported by the Democrats. It is quite apparent that these high school students could not have organized these protest marches without the financial help of some organizations with deep pockets
The second amendment came about because many in the Founding generation believed that governments are prone to use soldiers to oppress the people. While we may live under different circumstances, one may also believe that the Left would want to control guns for a different purpose than stopping crime. Oppression comes about with the help of the military, indoctrination is done through education. While no democratic government is openly trying to oppress the people by military rule, it is becoming quite apparent that our education system is being used, for the past two decades, to indoctrinate the youth.

General studies used to be a class where students were taught civics and other subjects, Today social studies are all about social justice, gender identity, Islamophobia but not Christianophobia, climate change, open borders and sanctuary cities, the dangers of ‘white privilege’ political correctness and other socialist curriculum. It seems to me that students today are being brainwashed by a cabal of leftist teachers using Soviet style state indoctrination. Universities have taken the steps to punish professors and students who have different views different from their leftist agenda. Freedom of speech in many cases is being stifled in institutions of higher learning. Therefore the system produces teachers who have only one view and thus profess collectivism over individualism.

The left has been working on this plan of indoctrination for decades and they are succeeding. Trudeau’s election in Canada is further proof of this trend. The uprising of students affected by the Florida shootings is a manifestation of this trend. I give credit to any young person who takes a stand, but they must also be aware of being used for a much larger agenda. I am worried when I see four year old kids marching to stop the sale of guns or changing laws that may affect property rights. Canada already has a system to be trained before owning a gun, we already have restrictions on the type of guns that can be owned. The Trudeau government is using the “March for our lives’ to mobilize its supporters to make changes to existing gun ownership laws. Most of the protesters have no idea about the law or the rights of others. The majority of gun owners are hunters, sports enthusiasts, and are law abiding citizens, and they should not be placed in the same category of criminals who in most case possess illegal guns. By the way countries like Switzerland who have many guns have less shootings, contrast this with Honduras which has fewer guns but 20 times the murder rate of the U.S.

Be very careful; students marching in Washington and many other cities around the world, is not about guns. It is about the exploitation of our youths into the furtherance of a socialist agenda. What is the next step: Children reporting their parents? There is a need for a discussion about guns, and shootings, but we must also take a deep breath before we start shooting in the dark and abolishing people’s rights and implementing a socialist agenda through the back door.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The Art of Chaotic Diplomacy


The world is still getting used to Donald Trump the President. Seasoned politicians and government officials at home and abroad cannot figure him out. Since his election, Trump has not acted or behaved like any politician before him. His approach to complex issues has been far from being presidential or diplomatic. However, so far, despite criticisms from his detractors and supporters alike chaos seems to be working very well for him. Is this a new era for diplomacy?

It is often said that in negotiations: ‘if you have no options, do nothing’. This is what past administrations has done with regards to North Korea and Trade. They may have negotiated but in the end too many times the U.S, according to Trump, have been on the losing end. Trump, a successful business man, has a different approach to negotiations. As the author of ‘The art of the deal’ he understands that going into a negotiation one must have a ‘best alternative to a negotiated agreement’ (BATNA). To think, that according to his detractors, Trump does not have a plan when he makes statements about North Korea, NAFTA or any policy for that matter, is not only foolish but insulting. He may not be a conventional politician but is far from being stupid, and the world better start understanding his tactics.

Let us take foreign affairs for a start. He does not like globalism, hence he disparaged the Climate Paris Agreement, and he forced NATO allies to pay their fair share, and always threatens to pull out or of existing agreements. He bombed Syria without telling the United Nations, and promises to cut U.N’s funding. Not your usual diplomatic moves, but the results have proved him right. As for North Korea he has called Kim Jong-un ‘little Rocket man’ denigrated him and sent aircraft carriers and military hardware to the region in response to North Korea’s continued missile and nuclear tests. By increasing sanctions he was able to get China on his side and now agree to meet Kim in a summit talk. This latest move has attracted criticisms from many quarters. Mostly from the same people who for decades have not been able to do anything and instead allowed the regime to increase and perfect its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. While I do not believe for one minute that these talks, if they happen, will get the desired results, in my view it will be a start to put the dictator on notice that his country could be attacked and destroyed.

As for trade his refusal to join the TTP and re-negotiate NAFTA, is not surprising since these were campaign promises. From a U.S point view trade agreements as they exists are in many cases unbalanced. Many countries including China have had preferential treatment, and the U.S, Mexico and Canada have progressed under NAFTA which in many instances need a review as a result of new technology. Trump’s imposition of 25% and 10% tariffs on steel and aluminum respectively is a tactic that will force countries to renegotiate now long overdue agreements, due to advances in technology, logistics and demographics, and more importantly because of the rise of China and India as growing economies. I suggest Canada and Mexico must come to the table with new ideas that include a removal of barriers on dairy products, and immigration policies at the southern borders of the U.S. Let us be quite clear, as a free trader I do not like tariffs, because they are a tax in another word, but if it used as a strategy to get better fair trade in a free market I am all for it.
What has been called chaos by the left and other perennial politicians is just another way of doing politics by Trump. His negotiation tactics which includes labelling, demeaning his opponents are a way to disarm his opponents. It may not be pretty but it seems that it produces results. Diplomacy as practiced by many of his predecessors has not worked in the case of Iran, North Korea and China. Trump believes that a different approach could be the answer to these thorny and dangerous problems.
 As a businessman he is used to hiring and firing his staff. He seems to be using the same management skills for his cabinet, as the revolving door keeps opening and closing on some of his personnel. The latest being Secretary Rex Tillerson, who has on a few occasions disagreed publicly with the President on foreign affairs. Let us remember that Secretaries and other government personnel serve at the President’s pleasure. He can hire and fire anyone on his staff.
Too often Canadians have followed the Democrat and liberal media rhetoric that Trump does not know what he is doing. Diplomacy is a very important part of governing; however history has shown that not all diplomatic decisions have been good for the world. The ‘Peace in our time’  decision by Chamberlain was not the best one ever. Obama followed in Chamberlain’s footsteps with his failed responses to the invasion of Crimea, East Ukraine, as well as the failure of his ‘Red line’ in Syria. His Iran deal made seems to be creating more problems in the Middle East than resolving dangerous terrorism and sectarianism issues. North Korea has been a thorn in the side of several administrations for over two decades. Now that NK possesses nuclear capabilities the negotiations are going to be more difficult. Empty talks and diplomacy through the U.N has not and will not work.
In Canada as reported by the National Post, we have civil servants like “Canada’s G7 sherpa Peter Boehm saying that the previous Conservative government “suppressed” everything diplomats tried to do during its decade in power. Others have complained that the Conservatives shackled senior public servants and foreign envoys and required them to clear almost all public communications with their political masters in Ottawa.” Canada and the U.S may have different constitutions, but in my view diplomacy should be conducted according to the government’s policies not at the behest of civil servants. If Canada chooses to allow diplomatic civil servants to dictate policies, this is not the case in the U.S. Let this be a warning to Canada’s NAFTA negotiators.
As a businessman Trump is used to hiring and firing his staff. He seems to be using the same management skills for his cabinet, as the revolving door keeps opening and closing on some of his personnel. The latest casualty being Secretary Rex Tillerson, who has on a few occasions disagreed publicly with the President on foreign affairs. Let us remember that Secretaries and other government personnel serve at the President’s pleasure. He can hire and fire anyone on his staff.
Diplomacy that worked, according to Reagan was ‘Peace through strength’, unlike Obama’s ‘outstretch hands’ or ‘smart power’ which never worked. If Trump’s chaotic diplomacy works, the better for the world. We should not criticize Trump because of his blustering style.  Maybe we should wait and see and hope that his approach bears better results.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Swamp is about to get more Dangerous



During his presidential Donald Trump repeatedly said that he would `drain the swamp`. He was referring to the establishment running the Congress and Senate of the United States. So far his promise seems to be unfulfilled, and his efforts are about to get worse.

In my book Conservatives: Dead or Alive? I wrote that Mitt Romney blew his chances to become President when he did not rebut Obama in his last debate. Instead of attacking Obama when he was rebuked for saying that ‘Russia was the greatest threat to the U.S’ he remained silent. At this point his election was doomed. However, I also said that he may return in 2016 to challenge Hillary Clinton, but he did not. When Trump threw his hat into the Republican primary, Mitt Romney immediately called him a ‘Fraud’ and became a member of the “No Trump” cabal.

In a twist of fate, when Romney ran for President he called on Trump to support him, but in a change of heart and sheer jealousy he did not reciprocate. Despite their differences, Trump considered Romney for a potential position as Secretary of State, but that is water under the bridge. Since then, President Trump has had quite a few achievements: a growing economy, getting  rid of numerous regulations, the defeat of ISIS, higher employment for everybody including Hispanics and African-Americans,  and lower taxes, to name but a few. Most people would not recognize these achievements since they are not widely reported in the liberal media. Instead the media has focused on collusion with Russia and other administrative snafus.

To achieve these goals Trump has had to deal with many obstacles. The Democrats still reeling after the Clinton defeat have no intention of collaborating, but his worst opponents have  included some members of his own party led by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. These two stalwarts of the Republican Party have done everything to obstruct many of Trump’s agenda. McCain in a grand standing display on the Senate floor stopped the repeal of Obamacare.  Graham who had been trying to get on the President’s good side, for a while, did not support Trump’s proposal to get rid of DACA and improve the existing United States immigration morass. Remember that these two Senators both tried to become President at one time or another. In a disastrous campaign against Obama, McCain lost in 2008. As for Graham he tried to run in 2016, but received less than 1% in the GOP primary. In other words they are two losers in the eyes of the American electorate.

Re-enter Mitt Romney on February 16, 2018, when he announced his intentions to run in the vacated Senate seat in Utah. It was speculated that when Senator Orrin Hatch retired that Romney would try to replace him. Now it is official, he will do so and more than probably will win the race and enter the Senate. In his announcement to run, while Romney avoided direct onslaughts on Trump he did say:  Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world -- Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion. And on Utah's Capitol Hill, people treat one another with respect." This statement is a direct hit on Trump’s intention to reform the immigration system that has plagued the country and many former presidents who have tried to do so.
 If Washington needs reform, Romney will not be the one to help doing so. In fact, in my opinion, he will join the other two losers, McCain and Graham, and oppose many if not all of Trump’s efforts to ‘drain the swamp’. He has already been endorsed by his former running mate Speaker Ryan, and will no doubt be endorsed by many others in the party who see Trump as a disruptor and enemy of the establishment. So where does all this lead us to?

There is my point of view and opinion: Romney will be elected to the Senate, and in the year’s leading to the 2020 Presidential primary he will play nice but oppose Trump when his vote may not be needed to pass legislation. Then in a move reminiscent of Edward Kennedy’s attempt to become president, Romney will challenge Trump in the primary and if he wins the swamp will survive to the applause of the establishment, the RINOs and the left.

The moral of this piece is that we should beware of larger alligators entering the swamp; they usually eat their young - just like Conservatives